Guy Tourond to run for MN-S director

by Sabine Gibbins

Honesty, transparency and accountability.

Those are the three qualities Fred (Guy) Tourond, candidate for director of Western Region I, uses to describe himself.

The Métis Nation-Saskatchewan (MN-S) 2012 election is scheduled for May 30, and thus far there have been no other registered candidates for the position of area director, a role currently held by Mavis Taylor.

Tourond, who has lived in Meadow Lake for most of his life, is an avid outdoorsman, with a love of hunting and fishing. He is also an active volunteer within the Flying Dust First Nation. He and his wife Helen are known around the community as tireless helpers, always willing to give an extra hand when needed at community functions.

Tourond has also been with the Meadow Lake Stampeders for the past 15 years, manning the penalty box.

For the past 20 years, Tourond has remained devoted to Local 31 as a dedicated member. For the past two years, he has served as vice-president of the organization.

Now, he feels empowered to make a difference elsewhere in the organization, an entity which he believes could be better and stronger with the right leadership.

“Right now our association is pretty fragmented; it’s unhealthy,” he explained.

There is room for improvement in the organization, especially when it comes to providing the members with a voice, as well as keeping track of where funds are, and following a meeting schedule.”

Tourond notes much work is to be done in terms of bringing the association back to its rightful democracy.

One of the qualities he plans to bring to the table is accountability.

“I’m not going to go out and promise this and that, and not let it happen,” he added. “I want to make sure they know I will be working with them.”

What is also lacking, Tourond said, is the amount of input permitted from the membership. He would like to see more power given to the people as opposed to the leaders.

A myriad of members have expressed their frustration at how seldom meetings are held, he added.

“It’s more or less a dictatorship now,” he said. “It’s not a democracy. We have to get back to basics.”

Another area Tourond would like to see improved upon is the local chapter’s overall recognition in the community in terms of getting the word out about funding programs, cultural events, and meetings.

Perhaps most importantly, however, Tourond wants to see self-confidence restored in each member.

“Some members don’t want to admit they’re Métis,” he said.

A few of the major undertakings Tourond sees the chapter diving into includes improving the funding strategies for various programs and services, and putting the accelerator on achieving more affordable housing for the Métis population – especially seniors.

“Funding is always pretty tight, but there is funding available if you know where to look,” he said.

Inclusion is another integral part of the Métis community. Many Métis people find themselves left behind, said Tourond, which he’d like to see fixed.

Additionally, he feels Western Region I needs better bones in terms of its growth, and establish key long-term and short-term goals, with everyone’s input.

Attempts to reach Taylor to confirm whether or not she plans to seek re-election were unsuccessful by press time.

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